Saturday, August 4, 2012

German Punctuality

Going to the airport in Newark, I found out that it's not so easy to fly to Berlin. At least not to check in, because, as a Delta employee found out while trying to process my request, "you want to go to an airport that does not exist!". Very true. Berlin's new airport, Berlin Brandenburg International, named after the late German chancellor Willy Brandt, did not open in time, as the authorities found out just three weeks before the prospective opening, but it will so only next year. Maybe. We will see.

So, my mourning about the closing of Berlin Tegel was a bit premature. Other than that, I should probably be happy to have escaped the heat in America, which—as seen on German TV—is melting streets, airports, and bridges. Maybe in 2020, when I‘m trying to get to the newly opened Willy Brandt airport, JFK will have melted away. Well, all that flying is not healthy anyway.

How is Mark Twain doing? Very well, I‘m in the last throes. Yes, for quite some time now, but I‘m still faster than the airport builders. Twain had a best friend in Berlin, a little older than himself, a German-Jewish novelist named Rudolf Lindau, who was also Bismarck's press secretary (another late German chancellor), and spent time in France, Japan, and California. They kept in touch long afterwards. Right now, I am trying to track down some more letters between the two. In those times, by the way, the post office would deliver letters the same day, sometimes within hours.  Very punctually. You will read all about it in the book, which has been renamed "A Tramp in Berlin".

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